No more subsidy for Christian group over gay cure

9th January 2009, Comments 0 comments

Onze Weg will lose its annual subsidy of EUR 50,000 for trying to treat homosexuality.

THE HAGUE – An orthodox Christian organisation that claims to promote gay interests will no longer be eligible for government subsidy after it was revealed that it was trying to ‘cure’ homosexuality.

The Onze Weg (Our Way) foundation will lose its annual subsidy of EUR 50,000, announced Education Minister Ronald Plasterk Thursday whose portfolio included protecting minority interests.

Earlier in the week, Plasterk was defending his decision to subsidise Onze Weg but went back on his decision after questions posed by two opposition MPs.

The MPs, Boris van der Ham of liberal democrat party D66 and Anouchka van Miltenburg of the conservative VVD, quoted an article in the Revu weekly that claimed the organisation is targeting homosexuals in order to alter their sexual orientation.

The education ministry then asked the foundation for an explanation.

In a letter to the ministry, the foundation said: "The organisation is transgressing the limits by devoting itself to curing homosexuality. Our subsidy is intended to promote an open discussion of homosexuality among orthodox Christians. It is out of the question that we support clubs that advocate helping people to get rid of their homosexual feelings."

In an interview with NRC Handelsblad, Plasterk said Onze Weg believe Jesus Christ can lead to "a reduction in the intensity of homosexual feelings, which for some may result in a change towards heterosexuality".

Plasterk acknowledges that the foundation says that such a change is not the result it is aiming for.

The article in the Revu weekly also accused another foundation of wanting to ‘cure' homosexuals.

The RefoAnders foundation, whose name translates as ‘Reformed Protestant, but different', has also been requested to provide detailed information about its aims and activities.

In all, government subsidies to Christian gay groups, ranging from liberal to orthodox, amount to EUR 450,000. The education ministry has not reported any plans for further investigations into whether subsidised gay organisations engage in therapy or prayer to cure people of homosexuality.

[Radio Netherlands in collaboration with NRC Handelsblad / Expatica]

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